H.E. Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said that the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum hit the nail on the head with its mandate to foster gender integration on the continent as a strategy for Africa’s development.
Dr Nsanzabaganwa made this comment during her virtual keynote address at the opening of the two-day AWIEF2022 Hybrid Conference last week, which took place on-site at The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt.
Other speakers included H. E. Dr Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Elena Atanasova Panova, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Sherif El Gabaly, Member of the Egyptian Parliament, Nivine El-Kabbag, the Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity, Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure & Industrialization at the African Development Bank Group, Maya Morsy, President of Egypt’s National Council for Women, Dalia Tadros, Assistant Minister of Public Enterprise, Egypt, Jackie Jones, Director, Gender Equality Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Izabela Milewska, Digital Skills Global Leader, Amazon Web Services, Uzoma Dozie, Founder & CEO of Sparkle Nigeria, Christine Arab, UN Women Country Representative, Egypt, Dina Saleh, Regional Director, Near East, North Africa, Europe & Central Asia at IFAD, Patricia Obozuwa, Vice President, Public (Government) Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Africa at The Coca-Cola Company, and Dr Amany Asfour, President of the African Business Council.
Dr Nsanzabaganwa congratulated AWIEF on organising such a “timely event” and used the opportunity to outline the multi-level actions proposed by the WYFEI 2030 strategy to enhance the financial and economic inclusion of African women and youth.
The AUC deputy chairperson said: “The forum’s theme for this year is “Advancing Africa Through Gender Integration” and this serves as an opportunity to speak about the Women and Youth Financial and Economic Inclusion Initiative (WYFEI 2030) to key partners and stakeholders in this forum which similarly aims to unlock financing and opportunities for African women and youth entrepreneurs, specifically by unlocking USD100 billion for at least 10 million African women and youth entrepreneurs by leveraging and building on existing initiatives and financial instruments both in the public and private sector, amongst others, that seek to financially and economically empower women and youth.
“WYFEI 2030 is a programmatic response of the African Union Commission to the African Women’s Decade 2020-2030. The purpose of the Decade is to promote equality between men and women by accelerating the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of African women, in line with Agenda 2063 and regional policy frameworks. This requires the mobilization of financial resources from all possible sources; including bilateral and multilateral partners, non-governmental organizations, and other parties in order to provide support to AU Member States.
“As such, this forum hits the nail on the head with its mandate to foster gender integration on the continent as a strategy for Africa’s development. It is my hope that entrepreneurs, start-ups, thought leaders, policymakers, international development partners, investors, CSOs, academia and media will plug into this great initiative. As we consider the ways in which gender integration can drive our development, allow me to draw your attention to multi-level actions proposed by the WYFEI 2030 strategy to enhance the financial and economic inclusion of African women and youth.
- At the micro-level, the initiative seeks to increase income of women and youth by supporting entrepreneurship and advocating for parity in employment.
- At the systems level, it calls for action to be taken to support the development of transaction platforms as well as make the necessary adjustments to provide an enabling regulatory environment
- At the environment level, WYFEI 2030 calls for market access and macro- economic policies that will enhance the creation and sustainability of jobs and makes a strong case for women and youth to have access to factors of production.
“I would like to encourage AWIEF members and other distinguished guests present today to identify ways to support the implementation of WYFEI 2030 as we work towards gender integration – which requires us to level the playing field for women and Youth by ensuring matters of inclusion are addressed.”
In closing, Dr Nsanzabaganwa said: “I would like to commend the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum in partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation and co-organiser Egyptian Businessmen’s Association for taking this powerful crop of African women under your wing and convening this very necessary forum to help them to make a difference within the innovation and entrepreneurship space across the African continent. It is now my pleasure to wish you fruitful discussions and interactions. The African Union Commission looks forward to the dynamic collaboration that will surely be a result of this gathering.”